Roughly 100 people on Friday night attended City Healing: A Night of Worship and Prayer for Jefferson City at Capital City Christian Church.
After seeing the many organizations and volunteers that were providing for physical cleanup needs in the tornado’s aftermath, teaching pastor Frank Goehringer and staff thought of another way to respond.
“We began to realize there’s an emotional felt need in the lives of those affected,” Goehringer said.
They worked to contact local pastors and community leaders to hold the service for the city and provide healing from the trauma endured.
“One of the things we thought we could help provide is a place for people to just have a time where they can get some spiritual guidance and emotional support,” Goehringer said.
On Friday night, ministers offered encouragement to volunteers and those affected.
Pastor Jon Nelson, of SOMA Community Church, said “staying the course” is what everyone must do in the weeks and months to come. Reminding the storm victims and volunteers that this is not a sprint, but a marathon.
The worship team lead the crowd in the chorus of “Raise a Hallelujah,” singing: “I’m gonna sing in the middle of the storm. Louder, louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar.”
Scriptures were read from Job and Genesis that represented flooding and loss of structures.
Pastor Adrian Hendricks, of Joshua House Church, said the major takeaway of the event was the unity demonstrated.
“I think it’s important that this city and people see the faith community taking an active role,” Hendricks said.
Some individuals in the audience were not affected but wanted to pray for those who were. Kaye Stacy attends Highway 54 Church of Christ. Their property was near the tornado’s path but was spared.
“It was a reminder that, as a community, we can be stronger by working together and loving each other,” Laura Hardecke said.
Speakers encouraged the community to ask God questions of why and understand it’s OK to not be OK.
Conscious discipline coach Karen Hickman, of Loving Guidance, focused on emotion management of parents and children after a scary event.
“So the next time instead of saying ‘you’re OK,’ moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas,” Hickman said, “I want you to look at their face and just describe what you see.”
She shared a technique that could help youth and adults get through stress. Using the acronym STAR — smile, take a breath, and relax — can relieve feelings of fear and anxiety.
In partnership with Adventist Community Services’ Disaster Response, a disaster relief warehouse is located at Capital West Christian Event Center, 1315 Fairgrounds Road. Monetary donations along with canned or boxed foods are needed.